25 Lessons I’ve Learned in 25 Years: Part I

Life lessons. Woo! Quite literally my favourite topic of conversation. I may sound like I have it all figured out. But, don’t be fooled, friends.

Why listen to me? I’m not really sure. I’m considered a millennial even though I don’t feel like one. Yes, I have a minor addiction to the blue light of my iPhone & I do love a good selfie. But, I would hope I’m a little less entitled & a little more self-reliant than the stereotypical 20-something in 2017. So, take this series of lessons, and subsequently this blog, with whatever grain of salt you like. This is the lens through which I see the world. These are the lessons I’ve learned that have made all the difference. Enjoy, lovelies!

1. Love yourself first. 

Easily the most important lesson I have taught myself. Five years ago, if you asked me what I loved about myself, I would have answered with a list of things I hated. Now, at twenty-five, I can tell you I love my sense of humour & quick wit. I love my strong desire for human connection. Plus, I love my big hips, big hair, big thighs, big laugh, and big smile. And I am so proud of how far I’ve come. Of course there are still things I wish to work on, like my indecisive nature, but I know that will come in time. There is no guide to self-love. They don’t teach this in school. It is a lesson you have to teach yourself.

2. Hug your mom as much as you can.mama

Like, right now. Go.

Your mama literally gave you life. You didn’t spend nine months in her womb to be an ungrateful little shit. Hug her. Because, she isn’t always going to be there. Because, maybe you’ll live half way across the world, have a really shit day, and not be able to feel the comfort of her love. Maybe your relationship with your mother isn’t the greatest. Maybe she isn’t around. For those souls, I hope there is another nurturing woman in your life that you can hug in her absence.

I love you, mama!

3. A few good friends is better than a lot of crappy friends.

It’s a matter of quality over quantity. I used to believe that I needed a million friends to be happy. Especially in a world where Facebook has us collecting friends like trading cards. I am now only interested in friendships that are of benefit. I have met so many amazingly genuine people in my travels & have kept in touch with them over the years because we truly care about each other.  The same cannot be said about people I spent years working beside or going to school with. Perhaps I sound like a real asshole. But, I want to surround myself with good people who make me laugh, who teach me things, who lift me up instead of bring me down, who ask how I’m doing, who actually CARE. And I want to be that kind of person, that kind of friend, for others too.

4. Express gratitude every day. 

This is one of my more recent lessons learned. I have since adapted it into my every day life. And I am a much better person for it. There are so many things in this life to be thankful for. Just waking up in the morning is a fucking gift! Be grateful that you have air in your lungs, a bed to sleep on, a creaky floor to walk across, a window to see the marvelous sun rise. I encourage you to take a mindful moment at the end of your day (Heck, do it right now!) & think of three things that you’re grateful for. It can be small things, like “I am grateful for hot coffee on the commute to work.” Or it can be the big things, like “I am grateful for my home, my cozy & safe space, and having enough money to pay for it.” Just three things. Right before you turn on that Netflix series to fall asleep to. This practice forces you to recognize the good things that have happened to you in your day-to-day. I promise (PROMISE) that you will be a better, happier, human being.

5. Be honest with yourself. 

Let’s get real deep for a second. We hear the saying all the time, “Honesty is the best policy.” Usually we hear it in response to white lies we tell our parents or our partners. What about when we are dealing with our ‘selves’ & matters of the heart? Nobody told me how important it would be to be real with myself and admit to the emotions I would feel.

I am someone who feels a lot of emotions. I blame that on being a writer. As such, it is necessary for me to feel emotions fully in order to move on. I wasn’t always a heart-on-my-sleeve type of woman. I would push negative emotions and feelings of vulnerability way down. Way, way down. However, I have since grown into a woman who acknowledges what she’s feeling whether it’s anger, depression or happiness. I let it flow in whichever way it decides to. Most importantly, I acknowledge the love I feel; for family, friends, lovers, you name it. Bottom line: allow yourself the courtesy of being honest in your emotions. Your heart will thank you.

Stay tuned for the next five lessons in this series.

With love ~ zz

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